Daily Devotion for February 5, 2012
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Our "Virtual Church Sunday" is WAY off the beaten track -- an outdoor service in South Sudan, where persecution of Christians is constant and murderous. I hope you will enjoy seeing Christ worshipped in such an extremely different culture; it gives deep meaning to His promise to save anyone, anywhere in the world, who will profess His name.
The presence of a nun indicates that this is probably a Catholic or Anglican congregation, two churches on the front line of the attempt to save souls from Islam. I hope you can listen to the singing long enough to hear the tune, for the three songs here have catchy tunes, even though the style is foreign to our ears.
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Peace
I thank you, master and lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. I appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hate for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in us the fear of you and confirm in us love for one another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make me and all who confess your holy name people of this light. Make us faithful to your Word that we may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
And our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before Him,
And shall make His footsteps our pathway.
Genesis 15:17-21 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham 
When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites."
Notes on the Scripture
The last occurrence in Abram's event-filled day is one which will reverberate throughout history. Like the other events, it is set on a stage of mystic symbolism, for after dark, when Abram has awakened from his deep sleep, a "smoking fire pot and a flaming torch" pass among the animal sacrifice he has made.
These must be one of the mysterious manifestations of God, by which He made his presence known to the early Hebrews. The fire pot, smoking rather than in flame, essentially resembles an incense burner. It fills the air, always the symbol of God's breath, of holiness and the spirit. God is symbolically sanctifying the Hebrew nation to come. It is also a symbol that the events will be passed from generation to generation, because a fire pot was used to carry fire, to store it for future use.
The torch, being the only source of illumination used at night in Abram's time, is the symbol of God's truth revealed to man. Compare the opening of the Gospel of John, "In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1:4-5) The Hebrews will carry the light of God for countless centuries, until the coming of Christ.
Then, in a moment that will reverberate throughout history to this very day, God makes good on his promise to give Abram and his descendants the land of Canaan; he "signs the deed", giving them perpetual ownership of the land between Egypt and Iraq.
Semonkong Waterfall in Lesotho (Africa)